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AGM reflects on tough year

Around sixty Murray Irrigation shareholders gathered at the Deniliquin RSL Club today for the company’s Annual General Meeting to hear from Chair, Phil Snowden, about the company’s performance for the 2018/19 financial year.

Shareholders heard how the zero General Security water allocation hit the company’s bottom line, with the business posting a $0.5M loss for the 2018/19 financial year.

“The ongoing dry conditions meant the company had limited income opportunities which obviously impacted on our financial performance. While we can accommodate this for the short-term, we really need the drought to break if we are going to be viable for the long-term”.

“Despite this, we were able to return 100GL of water to our customers thanks to the increased efficiencies being realised under the Private Irrigators Infrastructure Operators Program – our recently completed major infrastructure and capital works investment”.

“This came at a significant time for customers who were basing their business decisions around water availability and costs,” Phil said.

The dry conditions allowed Murray Irrigation to complete important maintenance work on channels, bridges and culverts, delivering the company’s largest Winter Works program to date.

“It’s obviously difficult to complete work on our infrastructure when the channels are full, so we used this opportunity to complete life-extending works on 217 bridges and emergency bridge repairs / major structural works on another 33 bridges in readiness for when the drought breaks and water flows once more”.

Phil said that as the business moves into a new financial year, and the likelihood of another zero or low allocation, the focus needs be on reducing overheads and limiting further losses.

“We’ve had to make significant business decisions to minimise further losses in the event we experience a third zero General Security allocation year. This includes the pending sale of MILCast and a wholesale business review that will see at least six positions removed from the business.

“It’s disheartening to have to make these decisions, but they are sadly necessary to limit the losses we will potentially see if conditions don’t improve. We must also be prepared to resume full service if, and when, it does rain,” he said.